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Happy New Year 2020

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? The thought of another resolution going awry may make you wary of even trying to make one. But, wait!  Change for the better is worth the challenge. Success is closely tied to your expectations. So, how many days does it really take to build a new habit. Is it 21 days? 66 days? 90 days? Let’s look at a scientific study that researched the length of time that forming a habit actually takes. You may be surprised. If you want to keep your 2020 resolutions, then keep reading. 

In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, a group of researchers actually explored just how long it takes to form a habit. Over a 12-week period, the team examined the habits of 96 people. Each participant chose one new habit that they wanted to change.  They reported back each day on whether or not they did the behavior and how automatic the behavior felt. 

The study examined the habits of the participants over a 12-week period. Each person chose one new habit and reported each day on whether or not they did the behavior and how automatic the behavior felt. So, how long did it take each person to go from starting a new behavior to automatically doing it? The study found that on average it takes 66 days before a new behavior becomes automatic. And, this depends on the behavior, person and circumstances. For some participants in the study it took as few as 18 days while others took 254 days to form a new habit. 

Setting your expectations appropriately is the key. Building a new behavior into your life will probably take two to eight months. The study concluded that a mess-up every now and then does not negatively affect establishing the new behavior. What does all of this mean for you?

  1. Don’t be discouraged if you try something for a few weeks and it doesn’t become a habit. Stick with it! Change takes time. 
  2. Mistakes happen. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Develop strategies in advance of a slip so that you quickly get back on the right track.
  3. Building a new habit is a process. Commit to your objective and be patient. 

Remember all of this as you set out on your New Year’s Resolutions. will be worth it.